Keith Olbermann Defends Cutting Into Rachel Maddow's Show on Twitter

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Keith Olbermann defended running his show long to cut into Rachel Maddow's hour -- and potentially ratings -- at MSNBC.

His rationalization: Maddow, whom he has mentored, appeared on the last five minutes of Lawrence O'Donnell's show to try to eat into his ratings.

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As Twitter followers began pouring in complaints about his show going four minutes late, Olbermann wrote, "So I'm assuming you're mad at her for doing the last five minutes of O'Donnell's show in competition with me? I'm not."

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He got into a back and forth with one specific follower, @OlympedeGouges, who said: "@KeithOlbermann You made it clear how much you want her at Current & staying at 8pm was seen as not competing with Rachel." Olbermann replied on Twitter: "By your logic, I should never have pushed for her to get that show just in case she did well or I went elsewhere!"

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To another follower, he wrote, "I'm still not following you: Somehow she shouldn't be on opposite me during O'Donnell, 855-9? Why not? I'm not upset by it," he continued.

OlympedeGouges went on, "@glassridges @KeithOlbermann Not implying @maddow isn't a pro- saying that stepping on her show doesn't help the progressive voice on tv."

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He repeated, "@OlympedeGouges So I'm assuming you're mad at her for doing the last five minutes of O'Donnell's show in competition with me? I'm not."

Maddow may not have to be too worried yet with ratings as Current TV is in 60 million homes via digital tiers compared to MSNBC being in 95 million homes. Several Olbermann fans noted on Twitter Monday that they don't get Current TV in their homes.

Olbermann said last week in an interview on NBC's Late Night With Jimmy Fallon that he'd like to see Maddow come to Current once her contract is up.

But in an interview for a recent cover story in The Hollywood Reporter, he admitted that his split with MSNBC was so bad he still has not spoken to Maddow since his abrupt exit in January.

"There were lots of people who were forced to choose sides," he said. "And particularly in Rachel's case, I didn't want to add to the pressure on her already. The last thing I need to do is be calling her up and saying, 'How's that Michael Steele working out for you?' [He signed to NBC as a political analyst May 23.] Which is exactly what I would do if I were in the office."

Maddow did not address Olbermann on Twitter Monday or Tuesday morning.

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